It’s a wrap! #IndieCruise2013

Lela Barker

I am home again after six amazing days at sea aboard Royal Caribbean with IndieCruise!


Selling fresh coconuts in Belize
Selling fresh coconuts in Belize


Twenty seven enterprising souls boarded the Liberty of the Seas and set sail for Belize and Mexico. This was my third IndieCruise and the event has quickly become my favorite week of the year. Sunshine, ocean breezes, the rhythmic lapping of the waves, exotic destinations, divine food and likeminded entrepreneurial souls is my own personal version of heaven.


This year saw our largest group yet, the most comprehensive slate of workshops to date and my very favorite cruise ship in the history of ever (rock climbing walls! surf simulator! jumbo-sized balconies! and a cupcake shop…yes, please). In the course of just a few days, I snorkeled three reefs, handfed howler monkeys, got a little boozy on local cashew wine and stood atop ancient Mayan temples.  Not a bad way to spend the week, eh? Most nights I slept on a chaise on my balcony while my roommates Stephanie and Adele snoozed inside. I went to sleep each night beneath a canopy of stars after short chats with the moon and arose each morning to quiet sunrises and morning meditations sessions at sea before the rest of my crew stirred. When I am old and rich I shall sleep on a boat each night… that rest is healing to my soul.


My view as I awoke on my balcony the morning we pulled into port in Belize
The view from my balcony the morning we pulled into port in Belize


Our days at sea were spent in a series of mastermind sessions, workshops and talking shop over lunch. Marilyn of Ritual Waters blessed us with an incredible opening ceremony that helped us set our intentions for the voyage, La Shonda of Nyah Beauty illustrated how to launch local workshops in our individual areas of expertise to create a new revenue stream, Jennifer of KleanSpa taught us all about mindful collaboration (and shared some golden advice from her years of running her business in the process) and our illustrious leader Donna Maria of IndieBusiness taught us all about complimentary business models. I arrived home with some bold new inspiration and some interesting new ideas I’m excited to implement.


A few of my Lucky Girls after my "How to Wholesale" workshop
A few of my Lucky Girls after my “How to Wholesale” workshop


I was ridiculously blessed to teach a 3-hour workshop designing to help creative entrepreneurs crack the wholesale market. I shared my 8 steps to wholesale success, some interesting stories from the vault of Bella Lucce past and a pricing worksheet that taught my students how to price for profit by walking through labor, raw material overhead and profit exercises to determine appropriate pricing models for their finished goods. Yes… we did math! And nobody cried at the end. I consider that a monstrous success.


Lucky Break Consulting hosted a cocktail party in my suite!
Lucky Break hosted a cocktail party in my suite!


The best moments of IndieCruise each year don’t happen in the workshops, though. They happen over glasses of wine in our rooms. Atop those Mayan temples. Around tables as we devour lobster and in the hot tub as we unwind before bed. Those are the moments I cherish the most. And each year I head home with a few dozen new friends, a blizzard of ideas and a support group I look forward to chatting with all year long.


Standing atop Mayan temple ruins in Belize
Standing atop Mayan temple ruins in Belize


This year I also arrived home with the flu, which has progressed to pneumonia, which has resulted in a week of doctor-ordered bedrest under the watchful eye of my husband (who is working from home to ensure my meds are administered like clockwork and my work time is severely restricted). I’ll be back in action next week (God willing) with big, big, big news that am having to practice Buddha-caliber patience to contain. More soon… until then, please send healing juju. Say a prayer for my tired lungs. Light a candle, burn some sage, dance naked around a bonfire, appeal to the deity of your choice. Nothing keeps me down for long. xo


My toes, big boats and the crystal blue water of Mexico
My toes, big boats and the crystal blue water of Mexico


I have a crush on the howler monkeys at a sanctuary in Belize
Crushing on the howler monkeys in Belize


About the Author

Lela Barker

Lela Barker hails from the deep-and-dirty south (ATL, represent!), where she spends her days helping makers and product designers navigate the pitfalls of product pricing, brand development, and wholesale strategy. She launched her apothecary brand in 2003 and bootstrapped the hell out of that little business to cultivate a portfolio of 1500+ stockists worldwide, generating $12million in revenue and establishing successful distributorships in the Middle East, EU, Scandinavia, and South Korea. Lela is the keeper of a well-worn passport and the maker of the finest lemon meringue pie you’ve ever put in your mouth.

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